Monthly Archives: January 2016

Pagans MC Members Falsely Arrested & have Legal Firearms Confiscated

By David “Double D” Devereaux

The epidemic of profiling and discrimination targeting members of motorcycle clubs is undeniable. Piece by piece, issue by issue, the community is facing challenges to fundamental freedoms based solely on associations. The recent practice of targeting club members legal gun rights expands the stakes substantially. On January 9, 2016 a textbook example of discriminatory policing targeting 2 members of a motorcycle club occurred in Connellsville, Pennsylvania. The stop included the confiscation of legally purchased and possessed firearms from individuals that had never been handcuffed in their lives prior to being falsely arrested.

January 10th, 2016

57 Miles Southeast of Pittsburg

Just After Midnight

Two members of the Pagans MC were traveling back to Virginia, after attending a motorcycle event in Pennsylvania, when they were stopped for speeding and ultimately arrested for possession of legally permitted firearms. They were chained to a metal bench for three hours before they were released without charges. They were questioned about their club affiliations. Predictably, their weapons were not released. These men are 52 and 42 years old with no criminal histories.

According to one of the members, a military veteran, after leaving a gas stop in Collensville,

“I saw a State Trooper at the light. Shortly thereafter, I saw the vehicle behind me. Felt like they were trying to get us to screw up while being the only vehicle on the road that night.”

“We were eventually pulled over for speeding.”

“A State Trooper approached and said we were stopped because we were going 60 in a 45. But that was the last the speeding issue was mentioned. After confirming that we were both carrying legally permitted firearms from Virginia the trooper returned to his vehicle in order to run their information.”

“After 4-5 minutes the trooper returned and asked us to exit the vehicle. For the first time in either of our lives we were handcuffed. We were relieved of our weapons and placed in the trooper’s vehicle.”

“We told the troopers that although it is true that Virginia has repealed its reciprocity agreement with Pennsylvania, the repeal doesn’t take effect till February 1. We were told they were checking. They asked for permission to search and we gave them permission.”

“We were taken to a local PA State Police Barracks. We were handcuffed to two metal benches. They tried an ankle bracelet, but it caused extensive pain so they settled on handcuffs.”

“We were told that we would probably be held overnight. They found no criminal histories, only clean records, and said they would drop charges from a felony to a class I misdemeanor, but they were not charging us yet. We were told they had to speak to the DA first to determine if he’ll prosecute. After approximately three hours we were released without charges but we were told our firearms were being kept as evidence.

“Still in handcuffs, we were taken back to our vehicle and released.”

A Clear Case Of False Arrest And Unjustified Detainment

Clearly the officers had zero grounds to arrest and detain anyone under the circumstances as described. According to the Washington Post:

“Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring announced Tuesday that the commonwealth will no longer recognize out-of-state concealed handgun permits, part of a national push to circumvent legislatures opposed to tightening gun laws…effective February 1.” (See Washington Post, “Virginia to stop recognizing concealed carry gun permits from 25 states”, December 22, 2015)

Both individuals arrested possessed legal carry permits from the state of Virginia, legally recognized in Pennsylvania until February 1. Certainly it’s reasonable to expect law enforcement to be informed and educated on such issues particularly if they are going to arrest and detain people. And it definitely does not take three hours to make a correct determination on an issue of such magnitude that has received such massive media and government attention.

And to keep legal firearms as evidence is outrageous and absurd. These men were released without charges because they did not violate a law that is not in effect until February 1, 2016. There is absolutely no legal justification to seize legal property that is legally possessed. No case, no charges, no need for evidence. This clearly violates reasonable search and seizure protections and directly violates 2nd Amendment rights extraordinarily obtained through extensive background checks and scrutiny.

Motorcycle Club Discrimination Revealed Through Trooper’s Questioning

So what underlies the troopers decision to falsely arrest and detain these two men? The MPP asked one member whether there was anything that would lead him to believe that this incident was a result of motorcycle profiling.

According to the member,

After being handcuffed to a bench in the station for 20 minutes, a trooper asked me why I would want to join the Pagans. I told him I was 20 years retired army. Veterans want a sense of security and we love riding motorcycles. Then one trooper asked whether I liked being in a gang. I corrected his vocabulary. Motorcycle Clubs are made up of men. Not gang members. The trooper then asked me whether I watched Sons of Anarchy.”

It seems clear that the trooper’s questioning reveals a discriminatory anti-motorcycle club motive.

Support Pending Legislation In PA To End The Practice Of Motorcycle Profiling

This case further demonstrates that the time to act in Pennsylvania is now. The mounting pattern of evidence proves that the practice of discriminatory policing targeting motorcycle club members is irrefutable. In the words of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in the District of New Jersey:

To permit law enforcement to object to any person “who wears the insignia of Pagan’s, without regard to or knowledge of that individual’s specific intent to engage in the alleged violent activities committed by other members, is antithetical to the basic principles enshrined in the First Amendment and repugnant to the fundamental doctrine of personal guilt that is a hallmark of American jurisprudence.”

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There is No Room for EGO in the Motorcycle Rights Movement

By David “Double D” Devereaux

Donnie Mr Breeze Landsman_resized

There is no room for ego in the motorcycle rights movement. In a community full of alpha male personalities this makes things difficult. But every one of us learned what we know from somewhere and most likely from someone. And what we all know, even if we seem to forget, is that successful grassroots people-powered movements are the result of an entire community’s efforts.

I understand this reality firsthand. I am a Spokesperson for numerous motorcycle rights groups and therefore I am more visible than many. But the fact remains, every amount of success I may have achieved has only been possible because of the hundreds of unified bikers always standing with me. The Washington State Confederation of Clubs and ABATE have always stood with me and trusted me to represent the voice of our movement. I humbly recognize this reality and will never take it for granted.

Although it is true that it takes everyone, it is also true that there are usually a few obvious stand-outs in any successful effort that create a strategic foundation for the entire movement. In Washington State, we were lucky enough to have a handful of highly motivated and capable individuals.

Donnie “Mr. Breeze” Landsman

Donnie was our single point of contact, our feet on the ground, for legislators. Donnie developed and implemented a cooperative strategy combining the legislative process knowledge of active independents and the massive manpower of an increasingly involved club contingent. I worked closely with Donnie including daily communication and constant and absolute collaboration on every issue that arose.

Jeff “Twitch” Burns

Twitch took responsibility for all public information requests and video documentation. Jeff’s contribution to Washington State’s success cannot be overstated. Filming the movement for over two years resulted in the award winning documentary “What It’s All About”, an invaluable tool for mobilizing the community and providing a “how to” for the rest of the country.

Lucky Les

Lucky Les keeps our movement in Washington State connected, maintaining our US Defenders program through countless hours of contact information changes and integrating new organizations into the network. Without Les’s contributions our coordinated calls to action would not have been effective and passing the profiling law would not have been possible.

Robert “Pigpen” Christopher

Pigpen was critical to the formation of the Washington State COC and my involvement in the movement. Before anyone knew my name, my brother Pigpen put his own credibility on the line to vouch for me with literally everyone he talked with. He saw something in me I don’t think I even saw in myself. It’s been over a decade and we all still recognize and thank him for having the vision and belief that we could unify motorcycle clubs to protect our culture.

Martin Fox, our COC attorney, has a body of work that speaks for itself. Much of our pattern of evidence used to justify our law came directly from the successful results of Martin’s legal work and official correspondence with state officials and law enforcement. Although Martin is now retired, we have been lucky enough to have inherited Mike Myers as his replacement. Suffice to say that Mike is incredibly bright, capable, and has seamlessly stepped into his role with almost immediate success and acceptance. Find them at www.myers-fox.com

Finally, the real unseen heroes are our families that support the massive time and energy commitment that is required to be successful as a movement. I can speak for myself when I say that I will never be able to repay the patience and support that my wife and two children have unconditionally given me.

I truly respect you all at the deepest level and understand that everything I do means very little without all of your support and hard work.

Thank you.

David “Double D” Devereaux

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Support the 2016 California Motorcycle Unification Rally

By David “Double D” Devereaux

2016-01-06_10-40-37

The California Motorcycle Unification Rallies on the steps of the Capitol in Sacramento in 2014 and 2015 are a testament to the type of person power commanded by the motorcycle community, both clubs and independents.

With great anticipation the third annual Motorcycle Unification Rally is scheduled to take place Saturday, January 9th.

The voices of the community are magnified when literally thousands gather on the lawn of the Capitol in solidarity making it more possible to achieve political and legislative goals.

In 2015, a grassroots supported anti-motorcycle profiling bill advanced farther in the state legislature than anyone thought it would. Although the legislation did not pass into law in 2015, it did create more awareness about the issue and proof that the grassroots motorcycle rights movement in California can unify behind a common cause. Even more can be achieved in 2016.

As stated, thousands of motorcyclists have attended the California Unification Rallies and there is every reason to believe that that trend will continue. In addition to many independents, there has been heavy motorcycle club member participation further validating the benefit a mobilized club community brings to a unified motorcycle rights movement.

2016-01-06_10-39-26The spirit of unification and community pride is undeniable. And when one Oakland club brings over a thousand bikes in its pack it’s also impossible to ignore!

Masses of people magnify the messages and demands of the community. It is no coincidence that an anti-motorcycle profiling bill was introduced in 2015 and received a recommendation to pass from the policy committee adjudicating it. Although it has been stuck in a fiscal committee since, the fact that the legislation moved as far as it did is an extremely positive sign. There is absolutely no reason that this success cannot be built upon and propelled forward.

Those working so hard in Sacramento, feet on the ground, are representing the interests of thousands of motorcyclists.

The most effective way that motorcyclists in California can contribute to these efforts is by showing up and participating. Show up to the Capitol during community rallies and events.

Participate in organizations like the COC, ABATE and the US Defenders. And reach out to your elected officials and communicate the concerns of the community, direct and informed.

As the movement continues to develop an organized and solidified pattern of evidence demonstrating that profiling is pervasive and widespread, the probability that more legislators will support the effort will continue to increase. Events like the Motorcycle Unification Rallies in California are an ideal demonstration of effective strategy made possible through a commitment to show up and be heard. These events can irrefutably increase the probability of receiving legislative relief.

Remember there is no democracy without participation.

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Police Harassment at Charity Event in Missouri

By David “Double D” Devereaux

Police-Harassment-at-Charity-Event-helicopter-registration.

As the movement to address motorcycle profiling spreads across America so has the necessity to develop specific patterns of evidence in each state pursuing legislative solutions. In the state of Missouri, the pattern of evidence regarding police harassment is historically irrefutable. A perfect demonstration of selective enforcement and profiling targeting motorcyclists has been documented by media accounts and statements from leadership in the motorcycle community relating to overwhelming police presence and harassment at the 19th Annual Mule Run in Clay County, Missouri. This clear example of discriminatory policing proves the necessity for legislative relief.

The 19th Annual Mule Run- A Story Of Mass Police Harassment And Motorcycle Profiling

On September 7, 2013 the Clay County Sheriffs Department coordinated a multi-agency operation targeting the 19th Annual Mule Run, an event held for charity, based on the prejudicial belief that motorcycle clubs have a propensity to be violent. Bravo, Chair of the Missouri Confederation of Clubs political organization, says “they had 30 officers, 2 helicopters and a mobile command center.” According to the Kearney Courier, the operation involved even more officers than originally believed. “The department conducted the operation with approximately 50 of its own employees with surrounding agencies operating on standby if an incident were to occur.”

The operation was not based on probable cause that a crime was likely to occur. This was a self-admitted massive police harassment and fishing expedition utilizing pretextual traffic stops based on stereotype. According to the Clay County Sheriffs Department, “the office conducted a concentrated traffic enforcement operation in Kearney as a proactive response to reports that a local motorcycle event — the 19th annual Mule Run — had the potential to draw activity from outlaw motorcycle gang members.”

Police Selectively Targeted Motorcyclists In Overwhelming Numbers


police harassment at charity event is well documentedAlthough Clay County Lt. Will Akin said, “
I can’t stress enough we were not profiling” both the facts and Akins own words prove this denial false.

  • The traffic stop statistics prove that motorcyclists were being selectively targeted and stopped. According to KCTV 5 News, “Officers saturated the area, stopping 49 cars, trucks and motorcycles for traffic violations. Two people were arrested on traffic-related charges. In addition, eight citations and 33 warnings were issued for issues such as not having a state-sanctioned No felony arrests were made.” 33 warnings for helmet warnings out of 49 stops most certainly proves selective enforcement of the laws.
  • Akins reported to the Kearney Courier that, “There was information that came through that involved the possibility of outlaw motorcycle gang members showing up.” “We wanted to make sure they knew we were in town,” Akin said.

There is every reason to believe that police will continue to profile based on discriminatory stereotypes into the future. Despite no incidents, “the sheriff’s office said it would continue operations aimed at preventing outlaw motorcycle gang activity in the county.”

Mere Association Is Not Enough to Justify Selective Enforcement

Generalized statements about clubs labeled gangs or criminals does not justify selective enforcement. To target an individual, including a member of a 1% club, “without regard to or knowledge of that individual’s specific intent to engage in the alleged violent activities committed by other members, is antithetical to the basic principles enshrined in the First Amendment and repugnant to the fundamental doctrine of personal guilt that is a hallmark of American jurisprudence.”

Motorcycle clubs, including those clubs labeled organized or criminal gangs by authorities, are 1st Amendment protected associations. There is “no evidence that by merely wearing [motorcycle club] “colors,” an individual is “involved in or associated with the alleged violent or criminal activity of other [motorcycle club] members. It is a fundamental principle that the government may not impose restrictions on an individual “merely because an individual belong[s] to a group, some members of which committed acts of violence.” (See Coles v. Carlini, U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, Civil No. 10-6132, Opinion, 9/30/2015, p.28) [M]ere association with [a] group — absent a specific intent to further an unlawful aim embraced by that group — is an insufficient predicate for liability.” Claiborne, 458 U.S. at 925-26.

Targeting A Charity Event Is Unconstitutional and Immoral

Motorcycle club members are entitled to constitutional protection when traveling to and from a charity event. If, “At the time the motorcyclists were stopped, they were on their way to such a charity event,…a reasonable jury could find that they were entitled to some constitutional protection based on the specific activity they were engaged in, and association with the group for that purpose” would also be “protected by the First Amendment. (See Coles v. Carlini, 2015)

The Mule Run is undeniably a charity event. Independent of every individual constitutional violation involved in every stop, the overwhelming police operation negatively impacted attendance and the fundraising effort itself. “Mule Run co-organizer Jason Schlichting said Brother’s Word, his motorcycle club, said the event raised $9,000 for charity, but that the saturation dampened the turnout. “I do believe we were unfairly targeted, yes, excessive profiling,” he said. (See KCTV 5 News)

Legislation Addressing Motorcycle Profiling Is A Cost-Effective Solution.

Legislation requiring every law enforcement agency in the state to adopt a written policy condemning motorcycle profiling combined with basic training empirically reduces incidents of profiling virtually cost-free. One incident of motorcycle profiling involving over 50 officers and 2 helicopters costs infinitely more than a simple legislative solution.

Being in a motorcycle club is not illegal, including a club labeled a gang by law enforcement. There must be specific and articulable suspicion that an individual is involved in a crime, beyond mere membership in any group, before law enforcement action is justified. In a very real sense the fundamental rights of expression and association compromised by discriminatory policing serve as the very foundation of a free society.

Articles sited:

The Kearney Courier , “Sheriff’s operation aimed at preventing motorcycle gang activity.” September 9, 2013

KCTV 5 NEWS, “Few issues found as Clay County deputies target motorcycle gangs.” Sep 09, 2013

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Police are Even Targeting Motorcycle Clubs Committed to Child Welfare

By David “Double D” Devereaux

Discrimination against motorcycle clubs is well documented and irrefutable. Incidents of criminal activity are sensationalized and used to mischaracterize an entire class of people based on stereotype and appearance. It seems that no motorcycle club is immune. Not even those dedicated to the service and protection of abused children. Indeed, from Waco to New Mexico motorcycle organizations dedicated to the protection of children have been the victim of motorcycle discrimination and denied basic civil liberties solely because of expressing their associations.

In New Mexico, the Guardians of Children were denied entrance into the Bernalillo County Courthouse unless they turned inside out or removed anything expressing association with motorcycle affiliation.

In Waco, a member of the Grim Guardians was targeted and arrested for no other reason than their association with a motorcycle club. The Huffington Post reported December 13th that Patrick Jim Harris “is a proud member of the Grim Guardian’s Motorcycle Club, an M.C. whose associates include active clergymen. His club’s mission is to serve abused and foster children.”

So far, not exactly the picture of a classic organized criminal, right? So how did Patrick, along with close to 200 innocent bikers, get caught-up in this nightmare?

In Patrick’s situation, here’s what occurred: Arriving at Twin Peaks to attend the meeting, he was swept-up in the mass arrest. Eventually, along with several others, he was released on bond.

These individuals committed no crimes and are dedicated community servants.

Law enforcement decisions should be based on behavior, not appearance. Agents of the government, particularly law enforcement, are prohibited from targeting or discriminating against individuals based on appearance. All motorcycle clubs should be free from discrimination. The absurdity of treating those dedicated to protecting abused kids like criminals magnifies exactly why.

There is a long list of federal and Supreme Court precedent establishing 1st Amendment protection for motorcycle club associations and colors against government discrimination.

  • The Supreme Court says that individuals have the 1st Amendment right to wear clothing which displays writing or designs. In 1971, the Supreme Court concluded that a shirt reading “F*#K THE DRAFT was protected expression. See Cohen v. California, 403 U.S. 15 (1971).
  • The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals says that wearing of motorcycle club colors in a courthouse building is protected speech under the First Amendment, and gang labeling does not overwhelm this right. See Sammartano v. First Judicial District Court, 303 F.3d 959 (9th Cir.2002).
  • A recent federal decision agrees. “There is “no evidence that by merely wearing [motorcycle club] “colors,” an individual is “involved in or associated with the alleged violent or criminal activity of other [motorcycle club] members. It is a fundamental principle that the government may not impose restrictions on an individual “merely because an individual belong[s] to a group, some members of which committed acts of violence.” In fact, the Supreme Court has long “disapproved governmental action … denying rights and privileges solely because of a citizen’s association with an unpopular organization.” Healy v. James, 408 U.S. 169, 185-86 (1972) (See Coles v. Carlini, U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, Civil No. 10-6132, Opinion, 9/30/2015, p.28)

These incidents demonstrate how the outlaw biker stereotype is so overly-broad that it encompasses almost all motorcycle clubs, even those dedicated to protecting the abused or neglected. Things have gone too far when a group called The Guardians of the Children, a non profit organization of child advocates comprised of motorcyclists, are denied access to the courthouse unless they remove their motorcycle jackets. These are not gang members, they’re community servants.

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